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Local News

Streamside Ecological Service, contracted by the Little Thornapple River Intercounty Drain Board to develop a remediation plan for the Little Thornapple Drain, has submitted a new plan to the DEQ.

Luis Saldivia, supervisor of the Water Resources Division of the DEQ in Grand Rapids, said the plan outlines repair of what property owners along the drain and trout stream called excessive clearing of trees that caused erosion along the river banks and left parts of the 14 mile long inter-county drain looking like a war zone.

The DEQ staff is doing field work on the plan to determine if they will approve the plans, or suggest improvements to Streamside, Saldivia said

“It’s slow, but we’re making progress,” Saldivia said. “When you have a miles long project like this one, it's complicated.”

He said he expects more information on the outcome of the field work within the next four to six weeks.

When the DEQ agrees to the plan, with revisions done if needed, it will go to the Intercounty Drain Board for its approval and the restoration will move forward.

His office is getting input from the DNR Fisheries Division on the plans, especially when it comes to fish habitat, Saldivia said.

The first remediation plan developed by Aaron Snell, co-founder of Streamside Ecological Service, was submitted to the DEQ and revised to its recommendations.

However, on the advice of its attorney, Stacy Hissong from Fahey, Schultz, Burzych and Rhodes, the Intercounty Drain Board did not approve the second draft in February.

At that meeting, Hissong also advised Snell to develop a new restoration plan to submit to the DEQ for approval.

The Intercounty Drain Board consists of commissioners from three counties, Russ Yarger from Barry, William Byl, from Kent and Robert Rose, Ionia County.

 

 

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